Fall 2006 Issue

CNNSP Goes To GPSL 2006

Members of the Central Nebraska Near Space Program (CNNSP)
attended this years Great Plains Super Launch. Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning is KCMWMs passion in ham radio, and here he
tells the story of the groups experience at GPSL 2006.

By Roger Hammond,* KCMWM

Filing the CNNSP balloon, left to right, are Caleb; Jack, WYF; Roger, KCMWM; and Jeff, KJLR.

This years Great Plains Super Launch, GPSL 2006, was held in Hutchinson, Kansas. It has become an annual event for ARHAB (Amateur Radio High Altitude Ballooning) with a conference on Friday and balloon launch on Saturday. This years GPSL was organized and hosted by Zack, WZC, of Project: Traveler. This was our second year of attending a GPSL. Six of us made the trip from Grand Island, Nebraska. including Jack, WYF; his wife Anne; Jeff, KJLR; Caleb; my wife Arlene; and me, Roger, KCMWM. We all are part of a group I started known as CNNSP (Central Nebraska Near Space Program).
My whole purpose in becoming a ham was because of this aspect of amateur radio. I had read an article about MABEL-1, the Michigan Area Balloon Experimental Launch, and thought this sounded like a challenging and interesting hobby to get into. If you have any interest in science, weather, and electronics, and enjoy designing and building, this is the hobby for you. Its been said that this is the poor mans space program. With a latex meteorological balloon and a tank of helium, you can transport your electronic payload(s) to the stratosphere, or that area of our atmosphere called near space.

We flew our first near-space mission in May 2005 with help from another Nebraska group, NSTAR (Nebraska Stratospheric Amateur Radio), out of the Omaha area. Were one of the new kids on the block with regard to ARHAB, and we were looking forward to flying our seventh mission at GPSL, designated CNNSP-07.

The Conference

The trip from Grand Island, NE to Hutchinson, KS is about a 41/2-hour drive. We decided to travel in a convoy and hit the road at around 11 AM. We kept in contact with the local repeaters until they faded and then switched to a UHF simplex frequency we all had agreed upon for the remainder of the journey. We managed to keep a QSO going among the six of us for the majority of the trip, commenting about the scenery (cornfields) and various other things along the way. We arrived in Hutchinson with plenty of time to wind down before meeting everyone for dinner at the hotel that evening.

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